Aspiring photographers planning to break into the royalty free stock images business are more likely to succeed if they focus on pictures of people.
People stock images remain the most sought after in the industry.
If you don’t know where to start, go with holiday photos. Christmas pictures are among the most popular stock images, with the word “Christmas” the second-most searched-for word in the history of Shutterstock.com. Similarly, Easter, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving images are popular in that each is a commercial holiday.
The Fourth of July is a relatively public holiday during which it is easy to find people celebrating at parades, during fireworks displays, and at community barbecues. Christmas can mean carolers going door-to-door, while New Year’s means parties at which people where colorful clothing.
The opportunities for shooting pictures of people in holiday mode are endless and can keep a photographer busy year-round.
Seasonal photos are also perennially in high demand. Think of shots depicting people and autumn leaves, spring flowers, snow, or nearly any summer activity.
When looking for potential subjects for your stock photography, consider those who stand out from society. Is there a man playing bagpipes on the street corner? Photograph him! What about that eccentric old woman waiting for the bus? Snap her! It is often in the most unusual characters that the average person finds him- or herself.
Look for active people, including joggers, golfers, and volleyball players on the beach.
Take photos of people at work. They are all around you – the mailman walking his route, the ice cream truck driver, the package delivery man, the landscaper weeding a patch of flowers in front of the bank.
Is there a theater performance scheduled in your local park? Take your camera and capture the actors on stage. Are you planning to attend the high school football game tonight? Go with your camera and take pictures of athletes that can personify triumph.
Does your community have a senior center? Drop in and take pictures of senior citizens playing cards, playing the piano, telling stories, and visiting with each other.
If you have trouble finding subjects naturally, consider hiring models. While some might ask to be paid, others, particularly those who are pursuing work in the field, will be happy with a free portfolio of high-resolution images of themselves.
Speaking of models, some stock photography agencies will require a model release form. Whenever possible, attempt to obtain your subject’s written consent to reproduce the image in which he or she appears. Model release forms go a long way toward improving your chances of having an image accepted for pay.